New water system built by indigenous peoples in Rifao
Rifao with 100 per cent indigenous peoples population now have access to clean and safe water built by the Teduray tribe under the ILO Japan Water and Sanitation Project, which will benefit households, schools and indigenous communities.
Indigenous peoples planned and constructed a level II water system in Barangay Rifao located in Upi, Maguindanao under the ILO Japan Water and Sanitation Project. Built by indigenous peoples themselves, and with respect to indigenous cultures and traditions, they now have access to clean and safe water.
The project formally handed over the water system on 22 June 2021 to the community of where almost 100 per cent of its residents belong to the indigenous tribe called Teduray.
The ILO project team, regional and local government officials from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) led by the Project Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) chair and Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) Minister Romeo Sema and Upi Mayor Ramon Piang, Sr joined the event.
The handover started with a ritual at the water tank to give honor to Tulus, a Teduray god. Considered as one of the remotest communities in the municipality of North Upi in Maguindanao, Barangay Rifao’s access to water was very poor as residents had to walk long distance to get water from unsafe sources such as streams and rivers.
The project engaged 45 workers, mainly indigenous peoples. About 80 households and over 400 school children will benefit from access to clean and safe water. Decent work was promoted and COVID-19-responsive Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) was observed all throughout the implementation to ensure the safety health of workers in the workplace during this pandemic.
In respect to the environment and the rights and beliefs of the indigenous people, environment and social safeguards were promoted and observed from the pre-feasibility studies to the implementation and completion of the project. Transparency and social dialogue were promoted and observed in the project. The community was part of the decision making process and resolution of issues- from designing, implementation, and planning the operations and maintenance of the new water system.
“With the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the livelihoods and income of the indigenous peoples, it is highly important to consult and engage them on building a better normal that respects their rights and ensures access to decent work” said Director Khalid Hassan of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines in a video message.
The ILO's implementing partner, the Bangsamoro Development Agency, helped build the capacity and supervised the community contractor, Rifao Spring Development Project Association.
"There is nothing more that we desire in Mindanao, particularly the Bangsamoro Region, but to witness the dividends of peace being enjoyed by its local people" said Chargé d'Affaires Masahiro Nakata of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines in a video message shown during the event.
The handover ceremonies included a ceremonial Tree Planting activity in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy – BARMM (a member of the PARC). The Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs-BARMM also delivered a message highlighting the importance of water and environment in the Teduray culture.
For further information please contact:Ms Ma Jennylyn Aguinaldo
ILO Japan Water and Sanitation Project